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Small betta with rounded belly


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I put a small male betta in a tank of female guppies to help control the population. Now his belly is rounding down below his body. I am afraid he has eaten too many fry or too much of the dry food I put in for the guppies. I am setting up an isolation tank. I hope the second new environment in a week won't stress him out too much. I am hatching baby brine shrimp. Should I offer them to him tonight, or wait until morning?

Water is bottled spring water with crushed coral and wonder shell (well is being fixed, but went bad in Feb)

water parms:

nitrate 25

nitrite 1

(GH) above 300

KH 40

PH 6.8

chlorine 0

Temp 79f

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When his isolation tank gets up to temp, I'll move him there and feed the pregnant guppies. they get very excited when I get near the tank to watch the betta.  The betta is swimming all over the tank, poke under things. He acts like he is looking for food. I won't feed him, but he is active and swimming and acting normal.

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Here is a quick update. The betta is in the 1.5 gallon isolation tank with 2 IALs and a sponge filter and a heater. He is swimming around. I put in one drop of hatched baby brine shrimp to see if he was interested in food. He swam after them and ate the ones he caught.  His profile seems to be the same. He isn't sitting on the bottom, and seem active given there isn't really anyplace to go in that tank. The leaves are at an angle, sometimes he is above, other times below.

I could put a few guppies in for him to swim with and take them out and put them in their tank at feeding time. I'm not sure what else to do during these 2 to 3 days of fasting.

All thoughts opinions and advice is welcome.



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second update: I could see some brine shrimp vibrate with my flashlight, so I added to pregnant guppies to eat the rest of the brine shrimp up.  I just started my brine shrimp hatchery, so the betta with the big belly won't get anything more to eat for 36 hours or more. The guppies will go back in the female tank before I go to bed tonight.

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We need help.

Next evening update: The little betta has a black body and red crown fins. He has been in the 1.5 gallon tank about 36 hours. It is very hard to see him because the 2 IALs have turned the water tea colored. I did scoop him out and he looks to same shape to me.  I do see a short white line through the bottom of the glass, which I think may be his anus. I can't see if there is any fecal matter on the bottom of the tank. iIf there is, it might be from the guppies.  I did give him a drop of freshly hatched brine shrimp last night, and he ate some. I added 2 female guppies about 40 minutes later to eat all remaining brine shrimp. They went back in their tank about an hour later.

I know the betta constipation treatment in general terms, 1) don't feed for 2 or 3 days. 2) offer high roughage like baby brine shrimp or a skinned steamed pea. 3) carefully timed Epson baths in water that are same temp as the tank. He is a small probably young male betta. I have had him about a week.  I think he over ate guppy fry or community tank food or both

I need help knowing the details: When and how much food to offer and when to start the Epson baths and how long each bath lasts and how long between baths. and the recipe for the Epson bath (I do have plain Epson salts) Any other details would be very helpful. 

Thank you for your help and support.

KittenFishMom and her rounded betta


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I gave the betta a 15 minute Epsom bath last night, and his profile looks better this morning. 

I gave him a drop of freshly hatched baby brine shrimp. In 30 minutes or so I will add some female guppies to eat what every brine shrimp may be left, then put them back in their tank.

The water in the isolation tank is very dark from the AILs. Should I swap some of the dark water out?

I tested all the tanks last night and all have 0 for ammonia, nitrates and nitrites.

Thanks for your help,



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I'm not sure what to do now.

I have been looking at and trying to photograph my betta for a long time. I think he may still be constipated, but I can't tell.  He is holding his right red fin higher than his left, so I can't get a clear view of the shape of his belly.  I went and scrubbed my eyeglasses and when I came back I realized he was eating some of the Xtreme nano food that was in the water I put in the specimen holder. I tried a few more pics and quickly put him back in his dark water isolation tank (1.5 gallon + 2 IALs makes very dark water.)

He was swimming around and generally acting normal in the clear water. I didn't see a food with my dirty eye glasses, and I had absent mindedly feed that tank just before I got the water out for looking at the betta. The betta was happy to eat while swimming around. 

The pics are bad, but they were the best of the ones I took. I don't know if I should give him another 15 minute Epson bath and not feed him, and wait another 24 hours, or do something else. 

Trying to net a black fish in dark water is frustrating for both of us.

Note: I bought him to keep in a 10 gallon female guppy community tank, so controlling how much fry and food he eats in the future with be tricky.  I really like his colors and crown fins.

All advice welcome.



Edited by KittenFishMom
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  • 1 month later...

I've been gone for a while, life has been very busy.

@KittenFishMom how is your boy doing? My experience in using betta to keep fry populations under control has typically been with female bettas, I imagine the overall experience isn't all that different though with a boy.

Bettas are frequently underfed, so when they first go in a livebearer tank they are going to overeat. If anyone knows of a workaround (other than adding before fry arrive) it would be awesome to share.

If you can get your hands on daphnia instead of bbs, daphnia work like a laxative and ease things right on out. Daphnia don't die and foul the water like bbs, and don't contribute to FBS "fat betta syndrome" like bbs can. The livebearers will love the daphnia, too. After a couple of weeks, all of my bettas developed better waist management. Once they realized they could hunt and find food whenever they wanted it, they stopped overeating. It's a scary first couple of weeks because they are PIGS when they are starving. I never tried feeding them daphnia before moving them into the new tank, that might decrease their gorging tendencies.

Again, this is my personal experience. The only two fish I have ever actually had eat to the point they exploded, it was on dry pellets. One was a livebearer and the other was an angel.

I have had bettas scare me they were going to die from constipation, but again that was dry feed and not fry...

I hope Mr Betta is still doing well.

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